ORONO — One more play, another basket or one fewer turnover would have resulted in victory Saturday afternoon for the University of Maine women’s basketball team.
The Black Bears came up just short.
UMaine scored five points in the last 29 seconds of regulation to force overtime, but committed five of its 25 turnovers in the extra period as Brown University pulled out a 61-59 victory in the championship game of the Dead River Co. Classic at Alfond Arena.
“If somebody would have made one more free throw here, one more free throw there or not turned the ball over or made a layup (we would have won),” said UMaine sophomore Ashleigh Roberts. “It’s disappointing in the way that we won’t be able to get that one back.”
Lauren Clarke scored all five of Brown’s overtime points to help the Bears of the Ivy League win the title and improve to 3-3.
Aileen Daniels scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Brown on her way to earning the tournament Most Valuable Player honor. Teammate Hannah Passafuime, who contributed eight points, eight rebounds and four assists, also made the all-tourney squad.
UMaine (2-3) was represented by Roberts (15 points, 5 rebounds) and freshman guard Courtney Anderson of Greene (11 points).
Briyana Blair of Evansville and Tenia Manuel of Troy also were all-tournament picks.
Evansville beat Troy 59-49 in Saturday’s consolation game.
In the championship game, UMaine demonstrated resilience and fight, but was unable to overcome its own inefficiencies.
“It’s motivating, I think, because that’s a game we should have won,” Anderson said. “We’d be above .500 right now going into (Tuesday’s game against) Maine Maritime. That’s disappointing, in a way, and makes us mad, but I don’t think it’s going to get us down.”
Coach Richard Barron’s Black Bears committed 25 turnovers that led to 21 points by Brown and UMaine went 4-for-12 from the foul line, giving away multiple points that could have led it to victory.
“It’s not so much being better players, it’s eliminating the mistakes,” Barron said.
“That’s what’s frustrating about it is, a lot of mistakes we make, the turnovers we make, seem to be mistakes of our own choosing,” he added.
UMaine outrebounded Brown 49-36 and scored 11 second-chance points to only three for the visitors.
Brown had only 12 turnovers, which led to 15 UMaine points. It also struggled from the foul line, shooting 42 percent (10-for-24).
“We really made it hard for ourselves, statistically,” said Brown coach Jean Marie Burr. “I think it was more grit and fight and hustle that really pulled it out for us.”
The Bears grabbed their first lead of the game (43-42) on an Anderson 3-pointer with 7:25 left in regulation, but eventually had to come from behind down the stretch.
Trailing 54-48, Brittany Williams made one foul shot and Corinne Wellington (9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks) rebounded an Anderson miss to make it 54-51 with 1:08 to play. Passafuime sank two free throws for Brown.
Anderson kept UMaine’s hopes alive by canning a 3-pointer from the right wing with 28.3 seconds remaining, then Roberts drove in for a layup with 19.1 seconds left for the hoop that would send the game into overtime tied at 56.
“I’m proud of our team, definitely,” Roberts said. “We were down the whole game and got back in it. We played hard.”
Clarke converted two free throws to put Brown on top in OT, but Wellington’s 15-footer off a Williams assist and her foul shot 33 seconds later gave the Black Bears a 59-58 edge.
UMaine struggled during the last 2:13 of the game, committing four more turnovers. Clarke’s baseline layup at the 1:00 mark put Brown in front, then she made the front end of a double bonus with 2.7 seconds left.
Lindsay Nickel led Brown with 15 points and seven rebounds. She made back-to-back 3-pointers 41 seconds apart to keep the Bears on top. Sheila Dixon posted 13 points.
Samantha Wheeler paced UMaine with eight rebounds, while Williams and Becca Knight of Alfred each had four assists.
UMaine returns to action Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game against Division III Maine Maritime Academy of Castine at Memorial Gym.